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Saudi Arabia Funds New UNRWA Health Center In Gaza Strip

As part of efforts by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), and with donations from Saudi Arabia, Al-Sabra Health Center in Gaza City was recently inaugurated in Gaza City, offering health care services to over ten thousand registered refugees.

The establishment of this center came as part of Saudi Arabia’s commitment to help the UNRWA resume operations in the Palestinian Territories, especially after the United States suspended all funding to the organization since 2018. Al-Sabra Health Center is said to be capable of offering family planning, prenatal care, mother-baby care, and consultations for non-communicable diseases, and has units for dental care, laboratory services, physiotherapy, psycho-social, and legal counselling.

The center’s inauguration was made possible through a $31 million agreement signed in November 2018, and it is among seven health centers that were successfully funded through the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) in over five years. Indeed, UNRWA’s Commissioner-General, Philippe Lazzarini, expressed that Saudi Arabia is one of the organization’s most important donors till date. 

“The health sector has been severely hit and its infrastructure needs urgent maintenance,” Lazzarini said in a official statement. “The health sector has been severely weakened and its infrastructure in need of serious maintenance. COVID-19 is adding pressure on a health structure that is bursting at the seams. This latest generous contribution from Saudi Arabia will help thousands of Palestine refugee[s] stay healthy. UNRWA is grateful to SFD for being a reliable partner and a friend of Palestine refugees in times of need.”

The funding of health centers is also part of Saudi Arabia’s overall commitment to do more for the UNRWA. These include building UNRWA-run schools, along with furnishing, equipping, and maintaining them. In addition, the Kingdom has also funded the reconstructions and repairs of over 250 affected houses for Palestinian refugees, and assisted in supplying other essentials such as fuel for water, sanitary, and health facilities. 

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